Soprano turns 40 with birthday concert at Carnegie Hall

Coloratura soprano Bituin Escarcha

By Elton Lugay

On March 1, Bituin Escarcha will be celebrating her 40th birthday with 268 of her closest friends at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

It will be a birthday party on a high note. This coloratura soprano will be holding a concert with her former voice teacher from UP, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio; former classmates also artists in their own right Luz Tolentino-Ladrillono and Jonathan Badon; and students Monica Sanagustin, Pristine Gabriel and Christine Soriano.

Proceeds from the concert “Bituin Domincel-Escarcha, Coloratura Soprano” will go to the nonprofit Blessed to Bless, which conducts medical missions to the Philippines.

“We are all graduates from the UP College of Music. So it’s kinda like a real 40th birthday celebration where you invite your good friends to celebrate it with you,” she told The FilAm. “They all have somehow contributed and helped me get to where I am right now and be the artist that I am today.”

Bituin and Jonathan blazed the same trail. Both were starting as solo artists in early 2000 and did many classical concerts together. The Prince of Pop Opera encouraged her to be a solo artist.

Luz appeared in “Miss Saigon” in Germany. Just as important, she was the one who introduced Bituin to her husband.

“She was the female lead in a musical play in the Philippines at that time,” she recalled. “So I just wanted to share the stage with her because she selflessly and generously shared a female lead role with me also 15 or so years ago.”

One of her students, Christine, will join Bituin and Fides in a trio number.

With voice teacher Fides Cuyugan Asensio

“One of the highlights of the program will be a performance where me, my own voice teacher and Christine, a student of mine, will be singing a trio together. So it’s gonna be three generations of mentor-student singing together. Tita Fides is 80, I’m 40 and my student is 20. We’re all half of each other’s ages,” she said.

Bituin’s concert will feature works by Mozart, Bernstein and Offenbach. Warren Helms, a faculty member of Juilliard, will accompany on the piano, along with jazzist Tim Metz on bass. Bituin will also sing a duet with husband, baritone Erwin Escarcha.

“I am very thankful for the blessings in my 40 years of life, now I wanna be a blessing to others as well,” she said.

For tickets call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or visit Carnegie Hall.

One Comment

  1. M. Matthews wrote:

    Elton, a wonderful article about talented Filipina opera singer from the days as voice student under a legendary Filipino voice teacher and her success as an opera singer and teacher.

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